Difference between Environmental Impact and Risk

#1
Hello,
could you help me, please? I do not understand the difference (relationship) between environmental impact and its associated risk. I also do not understand the difference between environmental aspect asessment and its environmental risk asessment, is it the same thing? Could you give me some examples? It would really help me to understand.
For example, if an aspect was a possible leakage of oil, the impact would be contaminated soil and water (polluted environment), but the associated risk according to ISO 14001 would be a potentional disvantage for an organization (the need to purchase a device for cleaning the contaminated soil and problems with the neighbourhood…)??
 
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R

rparcm08

#2
Hello,
could you help me, please? I do not understand the difference (relationship) between environmental impact and its associated risk. I also do not understand the difference between environmental aspect asessment and its environmental risk asessment, is it the same thing? Could you give me some examples? It would really help me to understand.
For example, if an aspect was a possible leakage of oil, the impact would be contaminated soil and water (polluted environment), but the associated risk according to ISO 14001 would be a potentional disvantage for an organization (the need to purchase a device for cleaning the contaminated soil and problems with the neighbourhood…)??
From your example, the risk to the company isn't the purchase of the cleaning device - It would appear to be setting up the company for regulatory punishment. I feel that, most of the time, the impact and risk are close to being the same.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#3
Welcome to the Cove Allisson!

You understand Aspects, Impacts and Risks better than you thought.

It is important to not over-complicate the subjects. As the ISO 9001 technical committee defines Risk as "The effect of uncertainty", you have properly applied the terms.

Have you read Annex A in ISO 14001:2015? A.6.1.1 and A.6.1.2 address your question in considerable detail. The Annex is very important!
 
A

Al Hector

#4
It was a very good advice from Jen Kirley. I would add that you can find out more details in the standard ISO 14004:2016.
An organisation can have various approach to determine risks and opportunities. An option is to integrate the determination of risks and opportunities into its determination of significant environmental aspects, and apply a similar approach to the other sources of risks and opportunities that need to be addressed. Another option is to determine environmental aspects, compliance obligations and other issues and requirements, and then determine associated risks and opportunities.
It might be cases when no risk or opportunities are identified.
The example regarding a possible leakage of oil - maybe is a very small leakage which is not considered significant from an environmental perspective, but it might be needed to consider if it is any risk to harm the image of the company.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#5
Before you get too deep study the entire ISO 14001 document, go beyond 4.1 to 10.3.

Study Section 3 Terms and Definitions (what you asked is clearly defined)

As suggested, Study Annex A Guidance on the use of the International Standard (it provides very helpful information that a consultant will charge to get), and pay real close attention to Clause A.3 Clarification of concepts ("any-appropriate-applicable-consider-continual-continuous-effect-environmental impact-ensure-interested party-stakeholder and so on in the section"

In Clause 0.5 Contents of this International Standard pay attention to the definition of the words "shall-should-may-can"
 
#6
I am not entirely new here, but this was my first question. I used to visit this forum quite regularly seven or sixt years ago, I implemented and then rebuilt EMS in our company and I found a lot of information here (I am glad that people always tend to be very helpful here). My company charged me with another task later - I had to learn new things, I had less time for EMS and I went here only rarely. But now I need to update our EMS, because an external audit will take place in few weeks and so I am here again. I am glad that I got so many helpful answers (some people I remember from the time when I used to visit Cove more often).
I have an English version of Standard and also a translation to my languague, the translation may slightly differ from the original. I have read about a possibility to determine the risks as part of the aspects significance evaluation in A.6, but at first I didn´t understand it exactly and was unable to apply it. It is much easier for me to learn new things from examples. After getting advice from Randy I have read Clause A.3 more carefully, the explanation of the word „effect“ is interesting for me (I had not noticed it earlier).

Thank you for providing me many amazingly helpful answers.

Allisson
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#7
One of the great difficulties is difference in language so good luck. When in Canada I have to bounce between English & French and in the SW US and Mexico it's English & Spanish.....Words aren't just words

Good luck....Oh yeah, the places I've audited have had to change very little from the 2004 to the 2015 revision
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#8
The language used to express requirements in these 2015 versions has been carefully selected and applied in order to help reduce confusion among users. The Annex, definitions and Clause 0.5 should provide ample help as Randy has advised.
 
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